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Count Care In: From GDP To A Social Wealth Economic Index

The recently released Care Index from New America is a valuable tool for parents and policy makers who want to know the status of child care in the United States. At a glance, the user can see how each state compares. Costs in centers and homes, including nanny care, are factored in. So is the cost of childcare as a percentage of median household income and minimum wage income for each state. Quality is determined by the proportion of accredited providers and consumer ratings from Care.com. Though the Care Index doesn’t show what percentage of the under 5 population is receiving quality pre-school education, or the earnings of child care providers, or the uptick in the quality of future workers who receive that education, the scope of the study is impressive and comprehensive. It ranks childcare by cost, quality and availability in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia — and shows that our nation has a long way to go: no state earned strong scores in all 3 of these categories.

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